The stages in research process


The scientific approach to research process involves the fromation of the stages ,which vary from one author to the other. However, the names given to the stage matters. What matters is the conveyance of the scientific method systematic process of inquiry involving inter dependent parts.
It is also important point out here that although the various stages of the scientific method are conceptually separable, it is well to remember that , in practice, they are closely related activities that will overlap continuscon rather than always follows a rigid , strictly prescribed sequence. For our discussions here you shall see the typical  stages in research process.
  1. Choosing the research topic
  2. Definition of the problem
  3. The analytic phase
  4. Selection of the research strategy and development of instrument.
  5. Collection, analysis and interpretation of data.
  6. Reporting the result.

Research process

Six stages in research process:

Stage 1. Choosing the research topic;

One of the difficult tasks a student faces in the course of his study is the choice of a project research topic. The success or failure of a student to present a good project usually depends on his or her choice of topic. A lot of things should be taken into consideration when choosing a research topic. The points to be borne in mind include;
  • The topic should be chosen in the student area of specialization, that is in a very familiar terrain. For example, an accountantcy student should limit his choice of topic to the accounting and finance area rather than Gene management or marketing. It is not always very easy for a soldier to win a battle in an unfamiliar territory. Soldiers figth and win territories which they have complete mastery of. A topic like "the application of computers in auditing" may only be effectively handled by an accountant student with computer bias. A computer illiterate accountantcy student or a computer scientific student with no knowledge of accounting or auditing may find the topic a hard nut to crack. For hudta Business or management student. This should be a no go area.
  • The topic should be of interest to the writer of the project. This will always spur him or her to action. Student have always misconstrued this notion and take it to mean that topics chosen should be interesting. It is the interest of the writer that is Paramount and not that if the project supervisor or head of department. 
  • The topic should be framed in such a way that it will be researchable. According to meekyaa (1992), the researchability of a project topic depend on how well defined the project will be, that us;
  1. How clear the research issue is
  2. How clear the various ways on might go about producing conclusion from the research
  3. How obvious and explicit the theoretically base for the idea is and how easy it is to get information about the problem.
  • The topic should be such that is posiposs to collect adequate data(facts) for statistical or empirical analysis. Topics which are derived from relatively recent concept or those that are too specialized and too geographically removed to obtain adequate materials on should be considered with caution, if not completely avoided. Similarly, there is no point embarking on a research topic which requires data much of which are confidential or restricted.
  • A good research project topic should offer opportunities for discovering something new or novel, different and original. It is not worth while conducting a research only to agree with findings of other researchers twenty or more years ago. A research should contribute knowledge to widen mankinds existing horizon. In other words, a good project research should arrive at a conclusion worth being cited by future researchers. Anything contrary to this amounts to sheer waste of time and resources.
  • Topics for students project should not be made to be too briad. Instead they should be very specific and should be such that the investigation can be concluded within the required time frame. 

Stage 2. The research problem;

Every researchable topic has a "problem". According to meekyaa (1992) the research problem is the academic perplexing qeustion posed for resolution. It is an intellectual task and not a physical one. Such a problem should be identified and stated. The statement should be seen as a guide in developing the study hypothesis, analysing the subject matter and surveying the evidence.

The research process problem is thus the "how" "what" "why" qeustions posted for resolution. Ajaegbu (1983) states that such a qeustions related to one of these: relationships among phenomena; cause and effect aspects of phenomena; expected pathway towards solving a development, technological or social problems facing man. A research problem must be qeustion that deals with issue of sufficient consequences t warrant investigation. It must be such that can be answered through scientific investigation. In addition, it must be a qeustion for which the answer to the solution is not already, but for which means of finding answer through collecting and analyzing data are possible.

In order to be subject to scientific investigation, a problem must have one essential characteristics. It must be possible to formulate it in such a way that observation or experimentation in the natural world can provide answer. Although selecting or defining a research process problem is a difficult stage for student in the research process. It is unfortunately one for which the least guidance can be given. It requires a critical mind and the observant eyes to clearly identify and define the problem situation around which to build up the research. Only vivid and sharp conceptualization can provide a well defined problem situation. In most cases researchers end up writing an introduction in the place of problem definitions.
A good problem statement must have the following Characteristics:
  1. It must ask about relationships between least variables.
  2. It Should be stated clearly and unambiguously, preferably in question form.
  3. It Should be possible to collect and analyse data to answer the questioned asked.
  4. It must not be philosophical in nature or represent a moral lead to value judgement an belief.

Stage 3. The analytical phase:

This part of study requires the researcher to present clearly and concisely the logical aspects I the problem. By this time the researcher should have made an exclusive study of all previous researches that have been done on the problem. This review the related literature is necessary to finish insight into the problem and act as a background for formulating the hypothesis of the study, which is a prominent feature of the analytical phase. A hypothesis provide a tentative explanation of the problem. The researcher must at the same time deduce the implication of the hypothesis that he has suggested, that is ,what would be observed if the hypothesis is true. 

Stage 4. Research strategy and instrument;

The problem will indicate the research method to follow certain problems require experimentation. Others may be attacked with one of the descriptive strategies we have already discussed on Research typesChoice of the research method then influences the details of the designs of the study and of the procedures for measuring variables. Instrument for measuring variables may already be available as standardized instrument or they may have to be developed by the researcher. Interview, uses o questionnaires, observation, and so on, come to mind here. 

Stage 5. Collection, analysis and interpretation of data;

The deduced consequences or implications of the hypothesis of the study must be tested. This phase, therefore, involves data collection which includes the routine aspects of administration of instruments, keeping record, scheduling,and so on. Experience had shown that this phase, contrary to popular belief, usaully takes much less time than the previous planning stages of a study. If a careful planning or proposal has been laid out, the field work becomes much easier and smooth to conduct.

Once data have been collected, the next thing is that they must be analysed, usually statistically and appropriate interpretations made of the results of the analysis or findings. From the results of such statistical analysis the researcher can then determine whether the investigation has produced evidence that supports the hypothesis. In the scientific approach one does not claim to prove a hypothesis as this would be dealing in terms of absolute truth which is not a characteristics of this approach. One merely concludes that the evidence does or does not support the acceptance or otherwise of the hypothesis.

Stage 6. Reporting the result;

The researcher must make his procedures, finding and conclusion available in an intelligible form to others who may be interested or to satisfy the requirements of academic departments or institutions. This involves a clear , concise presentation of the stages in the study.

In conclusion the above are the major stages in research process which allows any individuals or business firms to embark on research to further grow their business and know the main problem and challenges facing the organization, so as to make better decisions in the future.

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